About

Let us tell you a story…

Uplifting people and places in Weston-super-Mare through inspiring cultural initiatives

About us

Culture Weston is a new partnership-led initiative that places culture at the heart of Weston-super-Mare’s daily life and future growth.    It is led by North Somerset arts organisation Theatre Orchard, in collaboration with the local community and funded by Arts Council England.

With its friendly community, playful heritage and bucket-fulls of opportunity ready to be shaped, Weston has so much to offer residents and visitors alike.

Culture Weston helps to illuminate and develop all that makes Weston ‘super’ through offering advice and support, developing partnerships and collaborations and instigating new initiatives that can help forge an optimistic, people-powered future for this creative town.

The emerging cultural landscape is as broad and full of potential as the vast skies: its colours will mean something different to everyone. Culture can transform many different areas including health and well-being, regeneration and talent development, and we want to work together to create the right opportunities for you and for the town to thrive.

Our first couple of years have been adventurous and wide ranging and have included the Weston Arts + Health Festival, GLOW light trail, Live at the Quarry and Lullaby. We have worked with internationally acclaimed artists, such as Luke Jerram and Morag Myerscough, and many local artists, such as those from Weston-based arts’ collective From the Mud! We have partnered up with independent businesses, think Loves Live on the Lawn Festival with Loves Cafe, or The Brit Bar at Music Declares Emergency festival in Grove Park. Our HQ is at the community-led Weston Artspace on the High Street and we’ve also had a couple of pop-up workshop spaces in Sovereign Centre.

Both online and in person, we continue to help weave the cultural fabric of Weston-super-Mare. We hope you enjoy this journey with us …

Heritage

Weston’s glorious history as a  Victorian Seaside Resort, abetted by the arrival of the railway in 1841, still shines through any stroll around the town.  From the elegance of the Royal Crescent to the popular rows of Victorian villas, these archetypal examples of Victorian housing nestle into the wooded hillside where kestrels swoop from the quarried stone backdrop that gave rise to the town below.

In the town, architect Hans Price’s distinctive domestic and public buildings (created between 1860-1912) pepper the landscape with grandeur. Classical, gothic, moorish and flemish styles sit side by side, often with a twist of Bath stone cladding doffing a cheeky hat to the town’s Georgian neighbour. 

Dropping down towards the seafront,  Weston’s history as a spa town can still be felt in the bracing ‘air like wine’, with the expansive sandy vistas and broad skies providing further intoxication for the soul.  Not one but two piers provide storybook settings where land and sea marvellously collide, with the original Birnbeck Pier (unique because it ends at an island) now set for restoration. 

And the much-needed interwar focus on leisure and pleasure is manifest in the Marine Lake, the open-air pool at Tropicana and the Winter Gardens Pavilion, where you can still tea dance today.

Every town has its stories that wend together to create a new tale for the present, and culture and creativity can help to unlock all that lives and breathes beneath the surface, animating streets and spaces for a new generation.  

Culture Weston continues to work with local people, places and North Somerset Council to do just that.  We’re thrilled to be working together with High Streets Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme on 21st Century Super Shrines, just one way we connect with others to highlight Weston’s heritage.

Being Green

 

We believe that the arts and creative community can inspire and provoke conversations around climate change, and we have appointed a Green Champion to ensure that this commitment is at the forefront of our work.

At Culture Weston we share North Somerset’s bold vision of achieving a rapid reduction in carbon emissions and will aim to showcase a greener future in everything we do from our own work practices to an inspirational low carbon cultural programme.

We have a vision of Weston as a town built around sustainable values where residents and visitors alike can benefit from clean sea air, thought provoking culture and a deeper connection to nature.

Inclusive culture

As an organisation we aim to create a context where everyone has the opportunity to do their best work and feel fulfilled, no matter who they are, what they do or where they work.

We listen, respect, value input and then act.  We are happy to take risks and learn from mistakes as part of our journey.

These principles are also manifest in how we build cultural opportunities for the town from a base of partnership.   We seek to realise potential and celebrate difference, so that together we can build a cultural landscape that is inclusive across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status and disability.

Our diversity statement and the conversion of principles into active practise is reviewed by the Board of Trustees at each quarterly meeting.

 

Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy

At Culture Weston we are committed to the safe welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults in all the work we do, from online and live events to outreach and engagement. Our team of professional practitioners are trained in the latest safeguarding and child protection policies including those that apply across all digital platforms, to ensure that every experience we offer as part of our creative programme upholds safe practice within safe places. You can contact us at admin@cultureweston.org.uk with any queries or concerns and for more information on the latest policies surrounding child safety, visit www.nspcc.org.uk

Volunteer

Culture Weston is only as good as the sum of its parts, and those parts are you! 

Join Culture Makers, a new crew of local residents who are coming together to help make Weston an even better place to live, work and visit.

The team encourages people who can spare a few hours at a one-off event or would like to help out at larger events, such as town-centred festivals.

There is something for everyone to be involved in. In the past couple of years, Culture Makers have made their friendly and positive mark on events as diverse as GLOW festival and Music Declares Emergency in Grove Park, Josh Nash’s Krump dance show at the Winter Gardens Ballroom, Loves Cafe’s Sea Folk gigs by Birnbeck Pier, Whirligig outdoor arts festival on Italian Gardens, In Memoriam art installation on Weston beach, Party in the Park on Coniston Green and Live at the Quarry at Old Town Quarry

Whether you want to make new social connections (or build upon existing ones), enhance your skill base or you simply thrive on supporting your local community, Culture Makers invites residents to get in touch to make this happen.

Contact becky@cultureweston.org.uk for more information on how to join this band of Weston-wide volunteers and check out our dedicated Culture Makers’ Facebook group.

Meet the team